Carilion and Franklin County High offer EKG's/CPR training for students

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FRANKLIN COUNTY (WSLS 10) - After several student athletes across the country dropped dead on the field last Fall from Cardiac Arrest, local doctors moved to prevent it from happening again by creating a program that goes way beyond the typical sports physical.

Thanks to Carilion Hospital, students at Franklin County High School got a free sports physical, but may have also learned how to save a life in the future.

Medical student volunteers spent their Wednesday night helping teenagers learn basic techniques, like chest compressions to be used in an emergency.

One of those students, Whitney Guilliams, is on the cheerleading team.

She just recently sustained a frightening sports injury.

"We were stunting and I am in the back of it so she just, she went to go fall and she just kind of sat down to save herself and she sat on my head," said Guilliams.

Guilliams sustained a concussion and recovered, but says if it had been worse, these skills would have been vital.

"If something would have happened, it would be easier if someone who was already there could save a life than having to wait," said Guilliams.

In addition to the free lesson, volunteers then offered the hundreds of students the physicals they need for sports, including EKG machines to test their heart health.

"You can make a more educated decision and a better plan the more information that you have, so this is definitely a great piece to put together with the pre-participation exams, those are already doing to give us more information to better help our students," said Head Athletic Trainer Angela White.

The free service isn't offered anywhere else in the area, but Doctor Jack Perkins says he hopes that can change.

"Our research team is asking is there a different model that we can put together to incorporate doing the EKG's as part of the routine screening?" said Perkins.

Guilliams says this model, incorporating volunteer medical students, works for her, and she hopes it continues for the rest of her four years at Franklin County High.

"I definitely feel like they care just to make sure we're good to do the sport and nothing's going to happen to us," said Guilliams.

Doctor Perkins says he hopes students like Guilliams spread the word about the services they got Wednesday so that Carilion can form partnerships with more high schools in the area.